What is a service animal?

Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III of the ADA. A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks directly related to the person’s disability.  A service animal is NOT a pet.

Examples include:

  • guiding a person who is blind
  • alerting a person who is deaf when a sound occurs
  • pulling a wheelchair
  • alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure
  • alerting individuals to the presence of allergens
  • providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability
  • helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors
  • providing a safety check or a room search for a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

An animal that provides only emotional support, crime prevention, comfort or companionship is NOT considered to be a service animal because it is not trained to perform specific tasks associated with a person’s disability.